August 19, 2009
Departure Vector 4
As dimly documented nearby, my skating wound is refusing to subside and instead seems bent on conquest of my entire leg. Let's hope it doesn't go so far as to require amputation.
Not much else is worth reporting from the last few days, although there was a rather inebriated night out with old APT folks that ended in more tonsil hockey with the "I want to fuck you" guy. This may wind up being the longest one night stand in history. Also, Ian and I went to the Proms to see a couple of Phillip Glass works, introduced by the old man himself, which made for a very pleasant evening.
Tomorrow we are off to Italy for a week or so of Tuscan indolence, leaving WT to lie fallow yet again. Not a change anyone will actually notice, I suspect. The forecast is for incessant warmth and sunshine. Oh woe is me...
Consequently, you'll have to excuse me: packing awaits.
August 17, 2009
Wounds 4 (contd)
August 11, 2009
August 10, 2009
Just before starting at UCL, nearly three years ago now, I unwisely allowed KT to cajole me into going on the supposedly "easy" street skate known as the Sunday Stroll, for which I was patently unready. I blogged at the time:
I didn't complete the course, bailing after a few miles and some lacerating wipeouts, bloodied and frankly bowed, but I learned a lot and I'll do it again.
Brave words. But I didn't do it again.
This year I've done quite a bit of work on my skating, had lessons, practised, and I was starting to feel it might be time to revive this ancient ambition. Unwilling to face the ordeal alone -- and with Warrick long since departed to China and KT god only knows where -- I suggested that Davide (who is a regular on the longer, harder, faster Friday night version) and Alastair (who is not, but who is, well, Alastair) accompany me; they agreed. But a late night on their part and some last minute delays on mine made it look unlikely -- about which I was frankly relieved, since even though it was my idea the whole prospect was starting to seem terribly daunting and unwise.
Of course, events like this never begin on time. When I got to the park the skaters were still gathering and suddenly the whole thing was back on the cards. D&A had no patience with my vacillating, demanded I boot up, and off we went.
It was not without incident -- a couple of hardish falls left my right hip bruised and swollen, though Allie was quick to point out that I was not bleeding so it didn't count -- but at least this time I managed to complete the route -- a frankly ugly 8 mile circuit via Ladbroke Grove. I have to admit it was a struggle, though. If the boys hadn't been with me I would have quit long before half time. After that, pretty much the only thing that kept me going was a determination to have done it once -- with the accompanying internal vow that I would never be stupid enough to embark on such a thing again.
Such vows are familiar enough -- they've got me through any number of exhausting cycle rides -- and don't necessarily amount to a real commitment. In this case, though, I'm not in much of a hurry to get back on the horse. Skating on uneven, juddery street surfaces was a jarring experience. There was grumpy, impatient traffic. Hills required several kinds of unfamiliar effort that really didn't seem like fun. But the most off-putting, terrifying, stress-inducing aspect was the swarm of other skaters buzzing from all sides, getting in the way, always going too fast, too slow, showing off, floundering, constantly threatening to collide, sometimes actually doing so. I was downed once; I don't think I managed to take anyone else out myself, but there were definitely a few non-fatal wheel bumps. That whole business of running with the pack I just didn't enjoy at all.
As both Ian and Alastair pointed out, much of this may be down to lack of experience, lack of technique, lack of fluency on the skates. If and when I am more practised, more confident of my balance and able to react more quickly while concentrating less, perhaps I'll be able to enjoy it. But I'd definitely rather skate alone or with a small number of friends, away from the crowd. Misanthropic as ever.
So, anyway. Finishing the stroll is a goal achieved. I can check that off. Enjoying it is, let's say, a goal deferred. In the meantime, I'm nominating a new skating ambition: backwards. I hope it's not going to take another three years...
August 3, 2009